96 years ago, on January 15, 1919, the famous German revolutionaries and Marxists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered by reactionary "Freikorps" forces who had formed a counter-revolutionary conspiracy with right-wing social democratic (SPD) leaders to drown the revolution in blood. (See the book Germany from Revolution to Counter-Revolution by Rob Sewell, available here)

Nearly three months after the General Election in Germany on September 22 Chancellor Merkel was confirmed by the members of the Bundestag (German parliament) as head of the new federal government for another four year term just a few days before Christmas. The new cabinet is based upon a coalition of Merkel's Christian Democratic Alliance (CDU/CSU) and the social democratic SPD.

German chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) celebrated a sweeping victory in the German federal elections held last Sunday. On the basis of an 7.8 percent swing the CDU/CSU scored over 18 million votes and a share of 41.5 percent – their best result in national elections for 20 years. Yet due to the German system of proportional representation this massive swing was not big enough to secure an overall majority of seats for the CDU/CSU in the new Bundestag, the federal parliament based in the old Reichstag building in Berlin. 

According to the Bundesbank, German GDP grew by 3.6% in 2010. This comes after the steep 4.7% drop in 2009, when the recession hit Germany hard. Unemployment has gone down from the 10.5% peak of 2005 to 7%. It now stands at just under three million. Volkswagen is taking on 3,000 workers, BMW and Daimler 400 each. Lufthansa has announced plans to take on an extra 4,000 staff this year. The same picture can be seen in chemicals, electronics and other industries. When the rest of Europe is facing lay-offs and sluggish growth, what is different about Germany?

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